Tuesday 19th December 2017

Meditation. Yay or Nay. #LifeThisWeek.43/52. 2017.121.

Meditation. Yay or Nay. #LifeThisWeek.43/52. 2017.121.

Yay for Meditation from me.

But, over time meditation has changed (me) for the better and I will outline why.

Before we go there, I want to clear up some misconceptions about meditation.

It is not:

  • where you turn off all your thoughts (impossible)
  • a session where you ‘chant’ or repeat a mantra (unless you choose to)
  • something you need a special time and place for (although you might find that helps you)
  • a magical panacea to life’s stressors ( if only!)
  • something to be done occasionally if you want to gain from it (i.e. missing days/weeks/months) 
  • is not always a cost to you (there are some programs I have used at the end of the post)

My brief history as a meditator.

I began formal (i.e. making myself sit in one place, with my eyes closed for 10 minutes) meditations shortly after enjoying and noting the benefits from a half-day course here at the local Buddhist Centre. I wrote about it here too on the blog back in 2015. I think I confused the two words: mindfulness and meditation as being one. They can be joined for sure but mindfulness can be practised in all kinds of settings whereas meditation tends to be in a quieter space often alone. Some meditations occur in  group setting such as the course I went to and on-line but for me, I have only ever meditated alone. More about what I got up to in the early days here.

I started with headspace via their app and did the first 10 sessions for free. I was IN. I then paid for the next stages and that has gone on now for a continuous time. I pay around $75 USD for annual membership.

This gives me the access to so many different topics all based on coming back to the breath and letting your brain note and let get has been worth it. I often repeat a group of sessions. Some are 30 sessions, others 10. I pick my time I want to meditate from 10mins, 15 mins to 20 mins. Right now, I am doing a work-based session called Productivity and it is 10 sessions for my choice of 10 minutes.

“But Denyse, you don’t work anymore says you”….true but I sure know I am liable to be distracted and wander off to do tasks and then get somewhat overwhelmed if I do not have them more organised. So, it is helping me with gentle guidance in a life skill.

So far here are the stats of my meditations history. I am not sure it is entirely accurate as I did have an account double and my date may not have transferred…but what the heck, it gives me a bit of a boost to see how I am going.

Total time meditated
191 hours

Sessions completed
924 sessions

Current run streak
35 days

Last time meditated
17 hours ago

This is reminding me that I have yet to meditate today (Saturday afternoon as I write, so I will be back!) I am back.

Where I meditate and why.

My default behaviour is rule-keeper. That means for me, starting as a meditator I made a special place within my bedroom where I had some items like a candle I would light, a high backed chair with cushion making sure my feet could touch the ground and of course, no interruptions. I also had a special time for it and reminder via my phone. I relaxed that somewhat this year and just have it as a general reminder. My iphone as the app for Headspace and each day it would be ready with the next session I had chosen.

As time went on, and we moved house, I did not have a set place or space devoted to meditation anymore other than not to be disturbed. I now meditate (often) outside in a comfy chair with my back supported and feet up on a seat. I sometimes meditate lying on a bed in my art room. I have meditated in bed at night if I have not done so in the day and I have meditated in my car (parked!) on some occasions.

It has made no difference to me how or where I meditate even though I did think in 2015 I had to do it ‘right’ to get the benefitsWhat I now know is the only doing it right is to actually do it! I have missed a day here and there (and I did not meditate in hospital because of the constant interruptions) and I feel the difference not doing it. I thought it would cure me of my anxiety and IBS and it hasn’t. But what it has done is made me more aware of not getting too carried away with my thoughts and to bring myself back to the breath. Not only via meditation but anywhere. My husband does a walking meditation too.

My breath is my anchor.

But what about mindfulness? 

For me, mindfulness is something I need to attend to more each day. And generally I do. I am more mindful because I notice things and look around me often. I feel the touch of where I am sitting and when driving the car. I smell the smells and inhale the good and pleasant ones as great memories. Of course I eat mindfully MORE now as I literally have to take great care eating and do not want to choke! I also listen more attentively to nature. The bird song here is just wonderful.

So, mindfulness + meditation is about attending to the session I guess. However, in my case, the founder of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe really just asks that we pay attention to the breath, and to let passing thoughts come and go..noting them but not getting caught up in them.

I have tried and still check out three other meditation apps/sites. Here is Smiling Mind which is Australian-based and used in schools now too. This one is called Calm. This is one on my phone too and is free. It’s Insight Timer.  Sometimes I do a meditation from my favourites Pema Chodron, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield on their CDs. I have one more to add. Comedian and writer, Ruby Wax has had many episodes of depression and it was only through meditation and mindfulness practices with some of the best Dr Mark Williams at Oxford that her health improved. She has now done a Masters there and produced a great book called Frazzled. I have listened to the audio version and she does a great job helping guide people as first time meditators.

I hope that you have found some of this helpful. Please ask me any questions in the comments. I am always happy to share and help.

How about you, are you for Meditation or not?

Denyse.

I link up here for Open Slather with Alicia and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

Thank you for linking up today.
You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!


 

 

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Meditations for Back to School. 2017.22.

Meditations for Back to School. 2017.22.

I wonder what you thought when you saw this title?

In fact it IS about meditation and it IS for kids…yes!

From my experience of the past two years, meditation is helpful. I use it for helping me stay in the moment more and for being mindful. I’ve written about it here.

More and more though, it is found that a few minutes of meditation, slowing down to focus on the ‘here and now’ and the breath is an excellent strategy for us all. It is not about clearing the mind nor about going to sleep.

Smiling Mind is an Australian-based company producing apps and meditations on-line. The app is free. I have used this app a few times. I like the Australian accent too. Here’s the link to Smiling Mind to find out more.

What caught my eye recently from the ABC in Australia is this:

Meditations for Back to School.*

There are meditations for kids and teachers. I tried the kid one and that’s why I am sharing it here. I would suggest having a go with your children.

I would also try it with a class if I was still teaching!

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-TnQWp8VBwqQ/UePpQ7YiMWI/AAAAAAAAArw/StA8xwN1J7A/s1600/meditation+for+children.jpg

 

Here from ABC and Smiling Mind. From their website:

Our vision is to see mindfulness meditation on the Australian National Curriculum by 2020.

This hopeful statement from the Dalai Lama provides food for thought.

*Not a sponsored post..I just like to share what I think is helpful for families and education.

Have you tried meditation?

Do your children meditate?

Tell me more!

Denyse.

 

 

 

 

 

It is I Blog On Tuesday time I. B. O.T! Joining Kylie Purtell and the crew who blog on Tuesdays here.

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Quotes I Like. 366/139.

Quotes I Like. 366/139.

Lately I have read that quotes for the sake of quotes are often meaningless unless we can align our belief systems and values to them.

This made perfect sense to me as I continue to learn more about ‘being me’.

A values-centred life is one which helps us align our life and goals as one.

As I have said before, I continue to be a WIP – work-in- progress!

I’m studying a number of approaches to mindful living, and acceptance commitment therapy combined with the books by Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Anne Lamott, Elisha Goldstein, Russ Harris, Eckhardt Tolle and Tara Brach.

The quotes below have meaning for me.

What about you?

Denyse.

Here is the  source:

health

Joining Raychael and blogging friends over here at Agent Mystery Case on Wednesdays.

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Do You Have 10 Minutes to Spare? 366/111.

Do You Have 10 Minutes to Spare? 366/111.

Since March 2015 the mindfulness/meditation app from Headspace has helped me learn to be more mindful, take time out and to value my inner life and with that some of my unhelpful thoughts have been diminished.

What this activity is NOT;

  1. One to go to sleep by
  2. One to miss a few days and then come back when you feel like it
  3. One where you turn your thoughts off

So, if they are some of the things you thought about meditation and mindfulness then maybe you need to know more.

“Do you ever wish you could just stop…thinking…cut through the mental chatter (that’s keeping you from sleeping)..and focus more easily on your work (or just on the more important things in life)..look and feel healthier? Then the answer is HEADSPACE…it’s meditation but not as you might think. No chanting, sitting cross-legged on the floor, no specific religious beliefs or major changes to your routine…” from Get Some Headspace by Andy Puddicombe.

I have written posts about the value for me before.

I also know that many of you are finding mindfulness meditation helpful.

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I use the app from Headspace each day around 9.30 a.m. For 10 minutes. I could choose longer times of 15 or 20 but 10 works for me. The app is free for 10 sessions then I pay. HOWEVER, Headspace is about giving…and because I have recently completed a particular set of days of headspace I have:

3 MONTHS Free ACCESS to give away!

Are you interested?

Go here for more information.

If you are serious about wanting to get started, let me know in the comments section.

I am going to offer the voucher I have to the first person who asks for it.

It is not restricted to Australia. It is not a giveaway..it is just a gift! From Headspace to me and from me to whoever comments first that they would like it.

I shall contact that person with the details.

So, do you have 10 minutes to spare?

FOR YOU!

Denyse.

health

Joining with Raychael here at Agent Mystery Case for Worth Casing Wednesday.

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Do You Know Of Tara Brach PhD? 366/83

Do You Know Of Tara Brach PhD? 366/83.

I ‘found’ Tara Brach’s work via my husband’s study in his counselling degree when he sent me an article by her.

I am seeking ways in which to both understand my current challenges with life’s transitions and to help me through.

The first way was begun last year when I commenced my daily meditation practice via Headspace. I have written about that a few times!

However, like all things learning-wise, the more we learn (especially about ourselves and our behaviours) the more we want to know to grow and understand.

That’s what I am like anyway!

Many readers already know that from time to time I am finding some of life’s DOWNS of uncertainty and insecurity hard to handle with intermittent anxiety rearing its head and often the resultant IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

So for me, the lovely words here, and via the CDs and Tara Brach’s Youtube videos are amazingly helpful and I know, as I paraphrase Brene Brown  I am not alone..it is not just me!

If you would like to check out what I have found helpful, Tara Brach’s website has much  more information there than I could ever try to supply!

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How are you going today?

What is your recent learning in terms of your own health journey?

Do you know anyone who also has IBS as a reaction to anxiety/stress?

Take care everyone!

Denyse.

health

Joining in with Raychael for Worth Casing Wednesday over here.

And on Fridays I like to join with Grace and Friends over here for Flog Your Blog Friday.

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What’s Headspace Meditation? 366/6.

What’s Headspace Meditation? 366/6.

In 2015 I discovered that I needed ‘something’ to help me through a particularly difficult time.

The time has been written about a few times here as it related to our big move from Sydney, away from everyone we loved and knew and I gave up my paid work in education.

It was a ‘perfect’ storm if you like for setting me up for anxiety, sadness and grief. I knew I had to change something but I was floundering for a while.

Change is hard when you are the midst of it!

One day, and I cannot recall how, I found ‘headspace’. Yes, I’d tried meditation of one kind or another before and to be frank, I really didn’t get it.

Headspace, the app, and the co-founder (the voice!) of Headspace changed that.

Thanks to Andy Puddicombe and the many and varied way in which I can meditate each day, I have had some improvements in my mental health and can honestly say that should I ever miss one session I can notice the effect in me.

What do I do?

  1. I listen to the app in a quiet and special place that is just for me.
  2. I light a candle, make sure I can sit where my bare feet touch the ground (it doesn’t matter that it is inside)
  3. I start the app, and Andy lets me know about the journey we are on that day via the program I have chosen to download earlier.
  4. I have found 10 minutes is my ideal time. Some programs go for 10 days and others for 30 days. I choose.
  5. I mediate at approximately the same time each day, with a reminder set on my phone for 9.30 a.m.
  6. I actually pay attention more than I realise to the meditation and know it doesn’t matter too much to get distracted because I know how to bring myself back.
  7. It’s not about emptying the mind at all
  8. It IS about the breath. Not a particular way of breathing, but just the rhythm of in and out.

I am not paid to write this but I love sharing the news about how good it has been for my health.

I do pay for my app which was less than $100 for 12 months. Worth it!

Here is a link to my previous post about Headspace – the app for meditation.

PS: pretty chuffed to get this tweet after I posted about the blog post!

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Have you tried meditation yet?

Have you downloaded the free app where the first 10 days are free?

Denyse.

 

health

Linking this week on Flog Your Blog Friday here: 

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Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn. 274/365.

Mindfulness by Jon Kabat-Zinn. 274/365.

This man’s words both written and spoken are from sources I have found, including Lifestyle You from Foxtel. Jon is an author I admire greatly, a mindfulness practitioner I cannot speak more highly about, and someone who ‘practises what he has preached for some decades now.’ Google him to get to know more, much much more about Jon and the practices of mindfulness.

It’s helped me, and continues to help me every single day.

Being mindful doesn’t have to mean you’re happy all of the time. If you’re often trying to bury feelings of anger, guilt or frustration, then the best thing to do may be just to ‘feel it.’
“Mindfulness also involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment,” says Jon Kabat-Zinn.
When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. Pay close attention to your breathing, especially when you’re feeling intense emotions.
Once you recognise that your emotions and thoughts are fleeting, it can free you from negative thought patterns.”
Recognise that your thoughts and emotions are fleeting and do not define you, an insight that can free you from negative thought patterns.

This man, Jon Kabat-Zinn, who for me is the ‘guru’ of modern mindfulness speaking here:

 

I am doing what I can to be more mindful every single day. It takes practice like all exercise but the benefit for my brain is amazing.

Have you delved into ‘mindfulness’ yet? Are you meditating daily yet?

Denyse xx

A Mindful Moment

A Mindful Moment

Joining Grace for FYBF.

With Some Grace
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Just This. 225/365.

Just This. 225/365.

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Joining Anne@domesblissity for Thriving on Thursdays here.

Linking to Headspace if you want to know more about Mindful Meditation, here.

 

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